New Brunswick

Apple growers pick up after Dorian wallop

Local apple orchards took a hit over the weekend as post-tropical storm Dorian swooped in, toppling trees and damaging crops during prime harvesting time. 

One grower lost about 50 per cent of his honey crisp apples

High winds and heavy rain arrived just as apple growers were getting ready for their fall harvest. (CBC)

 Local apple orchards took a hit over the weekend as Hurricane Dorian swooped in, toppling trees and damaging crops. 

The high winds and rain arrived just as apple growers were getting ready for their fall harvest. 

Robert Bourgeois, owner of Verger Belliveau Orchard in Memramcook, said he lost about half of his honey crisp crop. 

"It's tough to take this time of year," Bourgeois said. Mid-September is prime apple-harvesting season.

He said 15 to 20 per cent of his orchard was damaged by the storm, but that's not enough damage for it to be covered by insurance. 

Robert Bourgeois, the owner of Verger Belliveau Orchard, says dozens of trees were damaged and fruit was knocked down. 7:42

Bourgeois is remaining optimistic, however. He hired a contractor Monday to help repair the damage to some of his trellises. 

"It's not a good situation, but when I look at pictures in Nova Scotia and the Annapolis Valley, I feel not too bad," he said. 

Bourgeois is collecting the fallen apples and said he plans to make a hard cider with them. 

Hurricane Dorian shook up a lot of apple orchards on the weekend. Ken Carrier is chair of the New Brunswick Apple Growers association. He says many apples are on the ground, and those left on the trees may be damaged. 10:01

Ken Carrier, owner of an apple orchard in Cocagne and Saint Antoine, watched the heavy wind knock over some of his trees on Saturday. Carrier is also chair of the New Brunswick Apple Growers Association.

"It's a pretty helpless feeling you know that there isn't much you can do about it, so you just you hope for the best," said Carrier, who doesn't know the full cost of the damage to his orchards yet. 

Carrier said apples on older trees tended to fare better than the apples on the trellis system. Trees on a trellis tend to have smaller branches, making it easier for them to snap in the wind.

Some of the posts along Carrier's trellis system were also damaged and will need to be replaced. 

After frost partially ruined the apple harvest in 2018, apple growers were hoping for a better year.

"This will certainly have an effect on what the crop will be this year," Carrier said. 

An upside to the storm

But the extra rain brought by Dorian may be beneficial for some growers, including Don Bostwick, owner of Bostwick's U-Pick Apples on the Kingston Peninsula.

Bostwick said his orchard lost some apples during the storm, but the damage could have been worse. 

"I think we kind of dodged the bullet a little bit," Bostwick said. 

He said the heavy rainfall was a relief after a dry August in the area. 

"We needed the rain and I think that maybe what we lost in apples will we may be able to make it up again in size."

With files from Information Morning Saint John, Moncton and Fredericton

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